How to Change a Head Gasket on a Detroit Diesel

Written by jeff woodward Google
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How to Change a Head Gasket on a Detroit Diesel
Detroit Diesel was a popular choice with truck manufacturers (semi truck image by max blain from

The Detroit Diesel Series 60 was one of the top selling on-highway engines during the 1990s. With a single overhead camshaft and electronic control system, the Series 60 became a popular option with truck manufacturers such as Freightliner, Peterbilt and Kenworth. Normal wear and ageing of an engine will necessitate that parts be removed and replaced during the engine's lifetime. The cylinder head is a major component of the engine, and eventually the gasket will begin to leak coolant.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Mechanics tools
  • Shop towels
  • Brake clean
  • Scotch Brite pads
  • Copper Coat
  • J35784 Kent Moore guide studs

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  1. 1

    Clean debris and oil residue from the fire-deck of the cylinder head using a shop towel and brake clean. After the oil and dirt has been removed check the cylinder head for carbon build up. Remove carbon by scrubbing the cylinder head surface with a Scotch Brite pad at the areas of carbon build-up. Wipe the fire-deck clean with a shop towel

  2. 2

    Clean the surface of the cylinder-block where it mates with the cylinder head with a shop towel and brake clean. Wipe away any excess accumulation of oil being certain that the mating surface is flat and clean. Install guide studs at the front and rear of the engine block and set cylinder head gasket on the cylinder block deck.

  3. 3

    Apply copper coat to the fire-deck of the cylinder head in the general areas where the cylinder head gasket will seat. Wipe away any excess copper coat which may have smeared onto the valve heads.

  4. 4

    Lift the cylinder head above the engine and ease gently down onto the cylinder block until it seats on the block deck dowels. Remove the studs and install the 38 cylinder head bolts. Torque the bolts between 185 and 210 foot pounds in the proper sequence as stated by the Detroit Diesel Series 60 troubleshooting manual.

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